May 17th – 23rd
The start of the AFC Challenge Cup and that selfie dominated headlines and twitter feeds this week.
Talk of national unity and a belief that the tournament could be a springboard for the advancement of the nation’s football will continue as the Maldives rode their luck to make it into next week’s semi-finals.
Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed’s luck also appeared to hold out this week as police announced investigations into the justice’s alleged appearance in a sex-tape were being suspended.
The Maldivian Democratic Party declared that this, along with the judicial watchdog’s failure to make headway with its own investigation, to be evidence of a justice system unable to deliver justice.
With criticism also coming from President Abdulla Yameen regarding the Judicial Services Commission’s failure to conclude cases in a timely fashion, the JSC stated that all procedures were being followed.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court continued to strengthen its grip on judicial administration with new regulations. The court was also said to have played a leading role in the decision to change the judge in the alcohol smuggling trial of governing coalition leader Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam.
Despite only one hearing having been held regarding the two-year-old charges, Shiyam had expressed concern that the presiding judge’s demeanour had indicated a personal grudge against him. Judge Abdulla Mohamed has taken over the case.
The Family Court was said to have ejected two representatives of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) this week, though the court itself denied the claims. A regional report from Transparency International urged the government to further empower the commission in order to fight graft.
The ACC received a case last week accusing Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb of using state-owned companies to withdraw millions of dollars which has not been repaid – charges Adeeb has refuted.
The government announced this week that it will soon empower one company to build the fabled Malé–Hulhulé bridge, with bidding set to open early next month. While plans for the US$7 million renovation of IGMH were also revealed.
With three minors convicted this week in relation to a fatal stabbing, the recent decision to facilitate the reintroduction of the death penalty again made international headlines. Former Home Minister Hassan Afeef, however, questioned the government’s sincerity in moving to end the sixty year moratorium.
Speaking at the country’s third Finance Forum this week, Maldives Monetary Authority Governor Dr Azeema Adam called for the government to work in concert with society to cut expenditure before a panel of experts discussed how to attract foreign investment.
The investments of the Foreign Ministry during 2011 were questioned by the auditor general this week, while the mayor of Malé City Council questioned the Finance Ministry’s assistance in the capital’s growing waste management problems.
The details of the deputy mayor’s run-in with a fellow council member – since suspended – were caught on tape. Progressive Party of Maldives councillor Ahmed Mamnoon bragged to Shifa Mohamed that he was a ‘gunda’ – thug/gangster.
Working alongside their Sri Lankan counterparts, the police this week returned convicted drug kingpin Ibrahim Shafaz Abdul Razzak to the Maldives after he overstayed his medical leave.
Meanwhile, seven former employees of Sheraton’s Full Moon resort were escorted from the island by police, alleging that their dismissal was linked to their union activities.